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James Sharp Kay

202276 Private

11th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 45th Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: 19

Date of Death: Killed in Action on 22 August 1917

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial, Panels 141-143

Family history: Son of James and Agnes Kay, 113 James Street, Laurieston. He was employed as a pattern maker at Laurieston Iron Foundry before enlisting.

The action that lead to his death

On 22 August, the battalion was in the line at Frezenberg Ridge, preparing to advance on Beck House and Borry Farm. At 4.45am the attack was launched under cover of a creeping barrage and fire from thirty-two machine-guns. Within thirty seconds down came the enemy barrage on the line Frezenberg-Square Farm, and within a minute very heavy machine-gun fire met the assaulting battalions, support and reserve companies of the 44th Brigade in particular suffering from the fire before they had left their trenches.

On the right the fate of the leading companies of the 13th Royal Scots and the 11th A & SH will never be known. So heavy was the machine-gun fire that no information could be sent back or supports sent up. Two hours after the attack started the left front company of the Royal Scots had only nine men and one Lewis-gun team remaining. Of the Argylls only three offices came back (McClure, Chesney, and Muirhead), all three being badly wounded. The few men of the Royal Scots and Argylls who returned were rallied on a line north-west from the Railway Dump along the road running to Beck House.

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